Images Index> Matlock, 20th and 21stC Images> This page
Matlock: Smedley's Hydropathic Establishment - Smoking Room
Matlock : Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
20th & 21st C Images
Next Image
Previous Image
More Matlock Pictures
18th & 19thC
"Just" Images
General Info
About Matlock
Find a Name

Drawing room

Grand dining room

Prospectus 1885-6

Smedley's, 1890s

There is another photograph in Smedley's brochure

Smedley's brochure, 1939

The first edition of John Smedley's "Practical Hydropathy", published in 1857, included a section that discussed the "Injurious Effects of Smoking" and quoted from a lecture by S. Solly, Esq., F.R.S. of St. Thomas's Hospital in London. Solly stated that smoking was "one of the various and insidious causes of general paralysis". After condemning immoderate use of malt liquors or spirits, he added that "There is another habit also which I cannot but regard as a curse of the present age - I mean smoking". He declared that he knew "no single vice that does so much harm"[1].

John Smedley disapproved of smoking and berated guests found smoking in their rooms. However, attitudes changed after his death and during Dr. Hunter's tenure a smoke room was added to the public rooms at the hydro. It was opened in June 1892. "A magnificent smoke room was opened at Smedley's Hydro last Saturday. In its decorations and fittings, the costly material used, and lavish expenditure of money, there is not considered to be a room in the country superior, if equal to it. There was no ceremony. The architect, furnishers, and decorators have been the same firms that have done so much artistic and splendid work in this colossal sanatorium"[2]. The billiard room, which had opened a few months before, can be seen through the opening on the left.

Du Garde Peach, who wrote a biography of John Smedley, tells us that smoking wasn't permitted in either the public rooms or corridors until 1915, apart from (although Peach doesn't say so) in this room[3]. Whilst the smoke room wasn't featured in most of the advertisements for the establishment, a photograph was included in the inter war brochure and was probably photographed for this postcard by George Washington Wilson (G.W.W.) not long after it had opened.

Whoever sent this post card in the reign of King George V commented that "This is where we have our quiet smoke after dinner". These days things have gone full circle and smoking is now banned in many public places.

Smoking Room, Smedley's Hydropathic Establishment, Matlock Bank G.W.W. 3 Sep ---.
Postcard in the collection, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to transcripts or more information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] Smedley, John - Lea Mills, Matlock (1857) "Smedley's Practical Hydropathy, 15th ed.", London: John Kendrick, 27 Ludgate Street. Derby: W. and G. Wilkins..

[2] "Derbyshire Times", 11 June 1892.

[3] Peach, Lawrence du Garde (1954) "John Smedley of Matlock and his Hydro", Bemrose Publicity Co.: Derby & London